|War Draws Near
In 1775, Congress sent the Olive Branch petition to the king seeking the repeal of the Intolerable Acts. The king declined. Congress appointed George Washington to command the army, sought support from European countries, and created a post office to share news throughout the colonies. In 1776, Washington surprised the British and took Boston.
Declaration of Independence
Inspired by Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, many colonists yearned for independence and freedom. In 1776,
Congress named a committee to write a statement of
independence that would express the American mind. Thomas
Jefferson drafted it and once certain points were debated, the delegates signed the Declaration of Independence. They did so knowing they risked death.
Principles of the Declaration
The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to
explain why the colonies had to separate from Great Britain. Jefferson included John Locke's concepts of the right to own property, and to be governed by consent of the people. He also included in the Declaration the right to hold meetings, be free of British taxation, and live as a free people without the presence of British military forces in the colonies. It was time for the colonies to be free and independent.
Birth of a Nation
The Declaration of Independence was the first document of its kind. No other colony had declared independence from a ruling nation before. Today we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th.